As soon as your retinas lock onto Mike Perreault’s ’66 Biscayne, the Bs just start flying out at you. Maybe the fact that it’s a big bullet of a B-body has something to do with it. Or perhaps it’s the utterly brutal 540 big-block that launches the Biscayne down the quarter-mile in 11.36 seconds at 119 mph. What’s more, the Biscayne’s overall execution is refreshingly basic, replete with a stock suspension and a blue bench seat. In an era when the typical street machine is becoming increasingly complex with luxuries like EFI, ABS, and GPSwhich often necessitate funding a project car with IOUsMike’s B-body reasserts that a back-to-basics street/strip ride will always occupy a well-deserved slot in the diverse spectrum of hot rodding.

Mike’s a full-frame kind of guy, and of the 80 cars he’s owned over the years, most have been GM A-bodies, B-bodies, and Tri-Fives. Pint-sized Camaros and Novas, with their noodley unibodies, just don’t do it for him. Even with a ’67 Malibu and a ’65 Biscayne already in his garage, Mike was still on the prowl for another project car. I did a body-off restoration on my old ’65 Biscayne and put a 540 engine, four-speed, and a 12-bolt in it along with dog-dish wheels and whitewalls. It was a fun car, but the ’66 body style was always my favorite, so when the opportunity came to buy my current Biscayne, I couldn’t pass it up, he says. My goal was to build a street car that would run 11s on pump gas. I wanted to keep the car very simple, which is why I prefer the plain-Jane flavor of a Biscayne over an Impala or a Bel Air. The white paint really finishes off the car’s sleeper appearance.

The Biscayne started life from the factory as a six-cylinder, three-speed car that’s drivetrain got chucked by one of its former owners for a 396 and a four-speed. Thanks to the arid Arizona climate, the Biscayne was in great shape when Mike found it. The bulk of the bodywork had already been completed, and the car was primered and ready for paint. Other than the fiberglass cowl-induction hood, all the body panels were original, and after spraying on a new coat of two-stage PPG white, it was time to move onto the fun stuff.

Relying upon the experience amassed though decades of building industrial-grade tanks, Mike knew that big B-bodies needed all the cubic inches underhood that you could cram. And at 3,700 pounds without the driver, the Biscayne was quite the chunky monkey. To address the situation, he ordered an all-aluminum World Products 540 big-block. The beautifully balanced package boasts a Merlin aluminum block with massive 4.500-inch bores, a forged Scat crank and rods, and aluminum 350cc cylinder heads that flow an impressive 382 cfm. Matched with a Merlin single-plane intake, an 850-cfm carb, and a custom 236/246-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam, the 540 is a paragon of simplicity, streetability, and reliability. Its mild 9.5:1 compression ratio maintains compatibility with pump gas, and it rips out 605 hp at 5,800 rpm. Even more impressive is the big-block’s potent low-rpm grunt. At just 3,700 rpm, the big 540 tugs on the dyno’s strain gauge with 665 lb-ft of torque.